Reviving Max Kumbulla
Roma’s defensive collapse against Juventus was as brutal as it has come. Since then, the defensive display over the next two games has drastically improved. I’m not suggesting that it’s no longer a problem; it still is a very significant problem; however, over the last 120 Minutes, Roma’s defense has been a bright spot. I don’t expect that to be the case for the rest of the season, and I do imagine Roma will have their issues with their defense along the way; however the adjustment they have made since that game in the defensive area has caused their form to improve. The most vital part of all of that is Max Kumbulla; he seems to be revitalizing himself in the realm of first-team. The Young center-back has failed to impress since moving to the Stadio Olimpico 2 years ago. He certainly had his moments but has been unable to recapture the form he showed at Hellas Verona that led to Roma fighting off Lazio for his signature. There were certain points this season in which he did not have a future going forward at the club. That has changed as of late and has been one of the bright spots for this trauma team during the last two games. The Albanian youngster has only played in eight league matches so far this season; he is only started in roughly four games. Against Caglalri, he helped Roma burn a clean sheet, and then on Thursday night in the Coppa Italia, he scored the equalizer at the end of the first half while being very productive in defense once again. He has more or less than Flawless during the last 120 Minutes; there still is a question of whether or not he can sustain it, but over the last two games, he has started to look like the player he was at Verona before making the move to the capital. Right now, he provides a much better option than Rodger Ibanez, who has significantly struggled this season. The Albanian should be starting next to Gianluca Mancini until further notice. He is still only 21 years old with a lot of room to grow, but his future now looks it could be at the Stadio Olimpico, after all. He’s played in 15 games this season; he has not been called upon often, but the way he has played over the last two games should change that he’s stuck with it, and he is finally getting opportunities to prove himself. If he’s able to keep this up, he could become a regularity in the Roma defense over the last 120 Minutes; he has proven his worth it’s now up to him with the opportunities that will surely be given to him during the second half of the season to show everyone why he was such a hot commodity when he departed Verona 2 years ago he has been wildly impressive and as long as his form continues Roma’s defense should be in a little better shape. I expect him to start Sunday and play well.
The man of the moment for Roma is Tammy Abraham; he is in sizzling form and has been one of the best strikers in European football this season. He will be crucial for a game like this that should very much favor his strengths. Lorenzo Pellegrini will not be available for the game, meaning Tammy Abraham will have to take a more assertive role with Sergio Oliveira and Henrik Mkhitaryan pulling the strings in the Midfield they could get him chances to be effective. He is the most inform English attacker this season. He should be a shoo-in for the World Cup next year because, if we’re being honest, he has been the best-attacking player this season. There was always going to be some reluctance of giving Tammy Abraham the number 9. Considering the last person to wear that number scored 119 goals for the club, his name was edin Dzeko, a certified Club Legend and big shoes to fill considering they even play the same position. However, he has earned the right to do so; he has been along with Lorenzo Pellegrini, the best player on Roma this season and, on top of that, one of the best attackers in Italy. His strike in the Coppa Italia quarterfinals made him the 3rd fastest player ever to get 15 goals for Roma right behind Vincenzo Montella and Gabriel Batistuta. Tammy Abraham has 11 goals in his last 13 games; he has been a scoring machine and has it on a mission to prove Chelsea wrong; he has certainly done that. Even though the Premier League club holds in 88 million Buy-Back clause that is eligible after next season, considering how swiftly he is taken to Italian football, I doubt he would make that move. This Roma team will improve and get better, and I can’t see how Abramovich will bring him back; he would have to swallow his pride acknowledging a mistake, and he certainly won’t do that. Roma has a very tough schedule in February, not to mention the quarterfinals of the Coppa Italia are against Inter Milan. Tammy Abraham is going to need to keep this up and keep things rolling for this Roma team. Sunday is a great opportunity for him to put the pedal on the gas step up for his team, especially with Lorenzo Pellegrini being held out until the very end of the month at home against Genoa. This means Tammy Abraham is going to have to continue to step up and deliver the goods for this Roma team, something he has been doing all season. I don’t know if there’s a way to slow him down at the moment; despite playing a tough opposition, Empoli is going to have a tough go of it dealing with Tammy Abraham, who already has 15 goals this season.
Empoli has been a sneaky good side
Empoli certainly will have their challenges that will be set out for them on Sunday at home. There’s no doubt about that even though Roma are not in particularly great form they ended their losing streak. They picked up a victory in the Coppa Italia quarterfinal, so at least some confidence has been restored. Their performance on Thursday was somewhat encouraging because of these things it’s going to make things rather difficult for them, even in their own backyard. Roma has only lost one game against a newly-promoted side in their last 32; it’s a tough situation to be Waltzing into. However, Empoli has been without question the most impressive of the newly promoted teams in this campaign. They currently sit just outside of the top 10, and there is a pathway for them to make the conference League; whether they do it or not is unclear at this very moment, yet they’re still at the pathway for them to do that. This team is not getting relegated, nor do I think they will drop Into the danger zone; this is a very well-coached team with enough players to handle themselves and test the best in Italy. We have seen them do this again; some big teams they handled themselves against Lazio and even pushed Inter Milan to the limit in the Coppa Italia in the reverse fixture; it was a narrow victory for Roma getting a shot at them at home will go very much into their favor. One of the most underrated teams in Italy, and they have a lot of capabilities; with the right adjustments and changes next season, they could push even further; that’s how much I rate them this season if they come out with a good game plan that can frustrate Roma they might be able to hold off the inevitable however I think we’re all aware that this is a challenging situation. Still, it’s not a challenge they will back down from stopping Tammy Abraham is going to be brutal, but this Roma team is very inconsistent, so if they get an early start, there might be a chance, even if it may be an unlikely one.